Monday, August 19, 2013

Lesson #47: Nifty Knows Best

Aug 16, 2013

It was just me again. I was looking forward to getting out of the city and as usual, had a nice relaxing drive out that way. I still get anxious when I think about the new outlet mall out that way. So far, things have been good. I hope the upcoming long weekend is the same good luck!

Today I ride Nifty; he's a sturdy and sensitive Quarter Horse. I think that he's probably misunderstood by riders who don't know him better because of his sensitivity and then think he can be a little much to work with because of his sensitive and overly obsessive attention to details. I read that sentence again and realize that I might have just described my own character traits. HAHAHA no wonder work has been going the way it has! ADW would tell me I'm sensitive (on the boarderline of being overly-sensitive) and obssessive about details. Sounds like me and Nifty will be just fine... in time. Afterall, I'm not sure I'd be friends with me if I wasn't me!

We've been told that because Nifty is a chestnut with pink skin, he tends to be more sensitive overall. His skin is thinner than most horses and he actually can get sunburned! Gillian puts sunscreen on his nose when they're out in the sun. He also is not a fan of being groomed since his skin is thinner than most horses and so it must feel like an unwanted and uncomfortable scratch/rub-down. He's also very sensitive in the mouth--he hates when riders yank on his face and prefers leg aids! The best thing about Nifty is his responsiveness to leg aids. The others are not as responsive to leg aids and sometimes I'm really going to town with my leg to get them to move.

Anyways... :) my first impression of him today is that he's not too cranky pants and might actually be cooperative. We get started out in the ring with Kristy as Sheri's got a personal commitment over the weekend. That said though, we warmed-up as usual and got into things just as we would. I've had a rather stressful week and been experiencing some anxiety with work and other things so my head wasn't exactly in the right space. But, I didn't recognize this until I started riding Nifty. I had some difficulty getting him moving in a forward thought at the start... when we did get moving, he just sort of clopped along. The posting trot was fine with him but the seated trot was (as usual) not particularly enjoyable. Of all the horses I've ridden at Greyden, Nifty is the one that I am the most hesitant to ride when we increase the gaits. I've gotten used to some of the others who are a bit more challenging but Nifty remains the source of canter-related anxiety. The first time I rode his canter was during the Mother's Day Ride.

Now we move towards the canter *gulp*. I feel myself tense up (and so did he!) so trying to get him going was like trying to do something without your heart in it. Everything was fine up until this point; I was confused and frustrated because he was responsive to pretty much everything else. At the time, I was growing more frustrated with the unresponsiveness to notice much else but in hindsight, I recognize he was just responding in-kind to my own anxiety and since I'm not quite "alpha horse" in his eyes, he was doing what he thought was best for me (and himself). At this point, I was told to correct him when he was doing his funny bend against the way he was to be bent. I spent possibly a quarter lesson correcting him.

I did get one canter around but that was about it. It was by no means graceful or happy. The silver lining in this stormy grey Dark Kloud (as an old friend affectionately referred to me as; coinciding with my initials of DK) was that we managed to get through a line of X-jump and a low straight jump through a trot turned canter (a la Nifty). I was also able to turn him around nicely before calling it a night. Not too shabby considering my less than stellar headspace. Thanks Nifty!


  1. haha nifty sure is a sensitive fellow, but i like that he likes to move. looks like you and him are cut from the same cloth!

    he's a good horse though and teaches you to place your hands properly and use your legs.

    1. he is totally a sensitive guy! takes some time to get used to him but when you do, he's a good horse to ride and responsive. hopefully we get some saddle time together when i'm not sleepy or tired.